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Website DIY #5: Newsletters

some ways to set up newsletters and why (we think?) it's important

We are probably the last site you want to ask about newsletters. We don’t know anything about ‘list segmentation’ or ‘drip-feeding content.’ We are fucking shitty about keeping a schedule with getting them out. Also, what are newsletters? No idea. When’s lunch? …

But still, we can tell you how we do it and you decide for yourself if this is useful.

We use a way-too-expensive WordPress forms plugin, WP Forms Pro. This includes a number of add-ons that let you sync form submissions to your newsletter list(s). So we use it to sync to our MailChimp list. Easy-peasy. But with too high a price tag in most circumstances. (Sam’s job as a web developer means a decent number of paid plugins in use here, ’cause why not, already had the license.)

Contact Form 7 is probably the most popular free forms plugin. A bit user-unfriendly (if you don’t know HTML), but free is nice. And it can be connected to MailChimp too. Poke around YouTube or a monopolistic search company (that, oh yeah, owns YouTube) for tutorials and you should be able to get it going. This one looks alright:

In MailChimp, we wanted to send out weekly newsletters with updates, post round-ups, news, etc. Feel free to check out the archive here. But we sucked at the time management involved – note the gap in the archive between February and May. Good shit.

There’s got to be a better way! Maybe that ‘better way’ is being more than two-person operation (that’s basically a one-person operation, due to work schedules or personal life obligations reducing person #2’s availability).

WordPress’s ‘parent company’ (the software doesn’t technically have one, but never mind that right now) acquired this newsletter plugin: MailPoet. It looks like it maybe lets you automate things nicely. Worth looking into…

The Takeaway

(“The takeaway.” Like I’m Tim fucking Ferriss or something here. What an asshole.)

We’ve heard so many sites emphasize the importance of “growing your list.” If you need to tell as many people as fast as possible about… whatever – submissions closing! fundraising help! – this seems to be the most recommended way. So figuring out how to grow your list and making it worthwhile for your readers seems to be worthwhile. Giveaways? Early access to information or content? Exclusive access to posts in exchange for signing up (like we did – in a rather clunky way – with our free Classes)?

We sure as shit don’t know how to find success growing and fulfilling a newsletter but… it seems worth doing?

More in the series

  1. Website DIY #1: Intro & Domain
  2. Website DIY #2: On Starting A ‘Magazine’
  3. Website DIY #3: Site Setup
  4. Website DIY #4: Monetization (Quick Overview)
  5. Website DIY #5: Newsletters
  6. Website DIY #6: Social Media
  7. Website DIY #7: Pitches/Submissions
  8. Website DIY #8: Analytics/Traffic
  9. Website DIY #9: Accessibility
  10. Website DIY #10: Podcasting
  11. Website DIY #11: Equity
  12. Website DIY #12: Email & Responding To Pitches
  13. Website DIY #13: Payments
  14. Website DIY #14: Admin Tools/Apps
  15. Website DIY #15: Networking
  16. Website DIY #16: Audience
  17. Website DIY #17: Stock Assets (Photos/Illustrations)
  18. Website DIY #18: Finances (How To Lose Money!)
  19. Website DIY #19: Wrap Up: Wins & Losses
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